New York

Alex Israel, Solo, 2019, HD video, color, sound, 4 minutes 6 seconds. Photo: Joerg Lohse. Reena Spaulings Fine Art.

Alex Israel

Greene Naftali Gallery

Reena Spaulings Fine Art | New York

Some encounters with art merit an autopsy report more than a review. I confess that, in those cases, I have a hard time parsing whether it is the work that is DOA, or my interest in what it’s doing, or both. Attending two shows by Alex Israel—the born-and-bred Los Angeleno who has made his reputation among collectors as one of that city’s brightest sons—I wondered if he is now feeling as stiffed as I do by the selfie-conscious, celebrity-grazing spectacles he’s been producing for half a dozen years or so. Having cast himself as a kind of Narcissus for our shallow, oversharing, materialistic times, he—along with the cultural artifacts that have shaped him—is still at the center of his practice. Thin and blingy by design, Israel’s always presumptuous work once had at least a little spunk; now, in a context far less comfy than the Obama years, during which he got his start, his one-liners

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